Mushroom Books I recommend

I am asked all the time what books I recommend.

This is difficult to answer as there are so many different ways to be interested in fungi- whether it is identification, edibility, medicinal mushrooms, cooking mushrooms or wild food, cultivation, mycology… the list goes on. I am interested in most of these aspects, but I am aware this could quickly become overwhelming to a newcomer. Also of note is that one should seek out mushroom books that are local to their part of the world.

Another important consideration is that while I value buying vintage and second hand whenever possible- when you are relying on mushroom books to give you safe and up to date information- I do not recommend old books. The information is changing constantly, not only the classifications and taxonomy but the information on safe edibility of mushrooms in older books can be suspect and no longer recommended, such as the culmulatively toxic Brown Roll Rims. So, find it second hand if you can- but get your books recent and up to date.

This list will evolve and I will add to it over time, I’ll just get a start on it tonight…

I will list some books I love or recommend and why here:

Mushrooms River Cottage by John Wright

I highly recommend this book for all beginning mushroom foragers. The River Cottage Mushroom book by John Wright is an excellent resource for those that are interested in foraging for edible mushrooms. There are great photos, clear information, a slight sense of humour and importantly he points out when there is a dangerous look-alike to be aware of. There are some very tasty recipes at the end of the book in true River Cottage style. I like John Wright and also might say while I am here that I also enjoyed this one:

The Forager’s Calendar- A Seasonal Guide to Nature’s Wild Harvests by John Wright

I downloaded this Audibles audio version of this book: The Forager’s Calendar- A Seasonal Guide to Nature’s Wild Harvests. I love listening to audio books in the car while driving and this one is informative and entertaining. Its good because he covers wild food and fungi throughout the season and what you might expect to find in any average month of the year and some tips about how he likes to use these ingredients.

book-entangled-life-by-merlin-sheldrake

I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this book to anyone, no matter what your interests are! I have both this copy AND the audio version. It is narrated by the author Merlin Sheldrake and I cannot get enough of it. An incredible book that covers the many and diverse ways of “How Fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures.”

Absolutely mind-blowing and hugely entertaining.

I would LOVE LOVE to have a coffee with Merlin one day:)

Courtney’s pared back mushroom stack – there are many many more in the collection- but these are some!

Let’s start with the one in the centre: the second one that I recommend to any new mushroom forager to be: Edible Mushrooms: A Forager’s Guide to the Wild Fungi of Britain, Ireland and Europe

I highly recommend this book, both to beginning foragers and experienced foragers alike. It has many species and what I like best is Geoff’s book stands alone in my opinion with its attention to the “Spectrum of Edibility”. So many books copy each other and err on the side of over-caution and preach to the lowest denominator. Geoff touches on this spectrum in detail and gives information about how and under what conditions each mushroom is edible or it isn’t. For example, many books might state: inedible, not recommended or unknown about edibility but Geoff gives us more detail than most- sometimes its a case of boiling before cooking, or cooking at high heat, etc to remove certain toxins. I respect and value this information so that I may make the decision myself, rather than be told simply: not recommended. And of course, should a mushroom not be recommended for consumption- this is also clearly stated!

Again, great photos, great information and again a warning on dangerous look-alikes.

Another book from that book stack above:

The Fungal Pharmacy by Robert Dale Rogers.

Fungal Pharmacy The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms and Lichens of North America.

While, granted, this book says it is for North American species, most of it is also relevant to Ireland/Uk/ Europe. Many of these medicinal mushrooms also grow here so there is much valuable information if you’re interested in mushrooms’ medicinal qualities.

From Jelly ears, Shiitake, Fly Agaric, Reishi, Lion’s Mane, Button mushrooms, Oysters, the list goes on and on.

Robert Rogers has a good online medicinal mushrooms course that I also can recommend.

Next on the list:

Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares- The Love Lore and Mystique of Mushrooms by Greg Marley

Throughout history, people have had a complex and confusing relationship with mushrooms. Are fungi food or medicine, beneficial decomposers or deadly “toadstools” ready to kill anyone foolhardy enough to eat them? In fact, there is truth in all these statements. In Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares, author Greg Marley reveals some of the wonders and mysteries of mushrooms, and our conflicting human reactions to them. With tales from around the world, Marley, a seasoned mushroom expert, explains that some cultures are mycophilic (mushroom-loving), like those of Russia and Eastern Europe, while others are intensely mycophobic (mushroom-fearing), including, the US.

This fascinating and fresh look at mushrooms-their natural history, their uses and abuses, their pleasures and dangers-is a splendid introduction to both fungi themselves and to our human fascination with them. From useful descriptions of the most foolproof edible species to revealing stories about hallucinogenic or poisonous, yet often beautiful, fungi, Marley’s long and passionate experience will inform and inspire readers with the stories of these dark and mysterious denizens of our forest floor.

Who is MayFly? Courtney Tyler’s previous life as a jewellery maker, market-trader and shopkeeper

Some people think that my name is May, those who have never met me may know me on Facebook as May Fly but really this name only came about as it was the name of my very creative love-child- a shop in Temple Bar, Dublin.

I made quirky, eccentric jewellery, steampunk jewellery, silver and gemstone jewellery, cufflinks and upcycled art and collaborated with other artists and craftworkers.

Even more fun, I travelled around the world for supplies, stones, and creative pieces from other designers. I regularly went to Indonesia and Thailand and I look back at these days with a nostalgia and a longing that plays out in many dreams at night, to return.

As I am going through a lot of old files and photos I thought I would share some bits of what May Fly once was- as it all feels very far away now and a life that once was. My new life journey and path is immensely fulfilling, however- a part of me is constantly feeling the itch to return to making- and to find myself a workshop studio. I still have a whole library bus workshop in Wicklow filled with supplies and materials and treasures to return to create such things from time to time. It won’t be anytime too soon yet, but who knows, one day maybe!

Jelly Ear Mushrooms- a local and abundant medicinal mushroom

Hmmmm? What’s that you say? Can’t hear you from my Jelly Ear!

(Even if it’s the biggest Jelly Ear I’ve ever spotted!)

These abundant, edible and medicinal fungi were a bit challenging to me before, I must admit.

The gelatinous texture isn’t one that I was accustomed to eating but it’s grown on me! The distinctly ear lobe shape didn’t help either. 😂

This mushroom can be found commonly growing on dead or dying Elder trees. Sometimes you can hit the jackpot and find branches heaving with them.

Another name for this fungus is Auricularia aurícula-judae, Wood Ear, Black fungus, Cloud Ear, Judas Ear or more controversially Jews Ear/ although this name is no longer recommended.

These can be harvested throughout the year, and can even be found shrivelled up on the tree after a dry spell. They dry down very small and rehydrate readily when needed. Love finding them plump and fat and juicy but you can collect the dried ones too, saving you the job of drying them out!

I harvest, clean, slice and dry these to preserve them for use throughout the year. Then rehydrate when needed.

If cooked fresh in a frying pan they can be quite explosive!

I enjoy them most sliced into a Chinese dumpling with other wild greens and aromatics.

Another favourite amongst the Foraging world was dreamt up by @fergustheforager many years ago and takes the intact dried jelly ears and rehydrates them into a liqueur then covers them in chocolate.

This mushroom has been used medicinally since the Tang Dynasty 618 BCE in China, often added to dishes to help improve breathing, sore throats, to reduce colds and fevers, to enhance well being and to boost circulation.

One to look out for on your wild food or herbal medicine journey.

#jellyearfungus #medicinalmushroom #foodasmedicine #fungi #fungus #forager #wildfood

Gift Vouchers for an experience – mushroom foraging, wild food, food fermentation, medicinal mushrooms, herbal medicine

Should you be looking for a perfect gift for someone you love and tired of buying more things?

A gift of an experience is something that will never be forgotten.

I offer experiences, events and workshops in wild food, herbal medicine, fungi, medicinal mushrooms, foraging, and more.

Here is a link to buy a gift voucher: https://www.hipsandhaws.com/shop/

RTÉ Radio Countrywide Suzanne Campbell Fungi Foraging Courtney Tyler

I met up with Suzanne Campbell for a forage and chat around Devil’s Glen and we spoke about mushroom foraging in Ireland.

Have a listen here:

https://www.rte.ie/radio/radio1/clips/21844941/

It’s harvest time on farms in many parts of the country & it is also harvest time for wild foods & a growing interest in them. Foraging for blackberries, elderberries and sloes is already happening along country lanes and this week Suzanne Campbell met up with a mushroom forager to learn more about picking wild mushrooms.

Fly Agaric mushroom – Amanita muscaria tincture – an incredible remedy

Fly Agaric mushroom photo by Annie Holland, Wicklow Ireland

I have been learning and teaching and talking and sharing and exclaiming about this remedy ever since I learned of it.

This mushroom as an alcohol extract has incredible properties for relieving pain – applied externally to the site of pain, particularly sciatica.

I first tried this medicinal mushroom remedy on myself after I developed a very painful bout of sciatica after a bicycle accident. As little as 3-4 drops applied externally near the pain (I applied this nearest the spine near my pain which was in my right buttock) and within minutes the pain was gone, and not just for hours, for weeks! and later for months. I no longer suffer the pain of sciatica. And yes, I am talking about only a few applications of 3-4 drops.

I have now taught and shared this old Finnish recipe with many and after the Welcome to Mushroom Hour podcast I have received many hundreds of messages from people all around the world who have shared this and many other ways in which this incredible mushroom has changed their life. Often eliminating long time pain and suffering after accidents or other types of chronic pain and often when nothing else would work!

Here is a link to purchase this remedy from my online shop. I make this remedy from wild, fresh fruiting bodies that I personally forage for from the stunning Wicklow mountains in Co Wicklow, Ireland.

Should you like to learn more in-depth information about this mushroom, medicinal mushrooms in general or how to make this yourself- you can book into my upcoming events here.

Here below is a link to purchase this mushroom tincture from my shop.

Here is a link to purchase this mushroom tincture from my shop.

Mushroom Foraging Ireland Facebook group

Photograph by Courtney Tyler, Inkcaps mushrooms, Kent, UK

A wonderful learning resource! I set up this group in September 2019 and there are now well over 10k members. Its been incredible to see Ireland’s interest in fungi explode!

Feel free to join the group here, a great place to ask for assistance in identifying a mushroom, to see what’s in season, to share recipes and information and connect with other mycophiles!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1431909853617055

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